Quick Lessons: Giving Up Clutter for Lent, Part Three
A quick post tonight, because I am busy de-cluttering the re-cluttered areas of my house in preparation for guests tomorrow! A few more things I have learned from this process:
- The process of de-junking one’s life is a discipline just like any other. It requires a sacrifice of time, leisure, and in my case, a personal preference to do anything else other than neatening our living areas. In this regard, it has been a good experience during Lent, a time in which experiencing some sort of sacrifice feels appropriate leading up to Holy Week.
- But we’ve hit a plateau. We’re barely managing to maintain that small area of space we have de-cluttered; progressing any further will require a significant investment of intentional time and energy. I need to devote an entire day, maybe more, to really start chipping away at other areas of disarray. This makes me think about spiritual growth, and how we often hit those plateaus, then hope that going through the normal motions will propel us further in our relationship with the Lord. But what we actually need is to be carving out more significant time and space to do the work of relationship-building with God that he always desires from us. I can pray and read the Bible every day, but that will just barely keep my spiritual clutter at bay.
- Clutter is just the first and most superficial level of getting one’s life in order. It’s easy enough to create the appearance of neatness and cleanliness, when your house is actually anything but neat and clean. I can so easily throw junk into a bin and hide it away, which maintains my uncluttered kitchen island, but doesn’t actually address the habits and ongoing messes of my life. How often do we project the appearance of spiritual health and cleanliness, when our secret closets and rooms house more messes than we ever want to show the world? I confess that I do this way more often than I should.
- Lastly, having the accountability of friends coming over to visit is a wonderful motivator to action. This is a reminder to me that we need the community of God to spur us on to good deeds and help us go a step further in our spiritual lives than we would without that accountability. Most of the time I would rather keep my spiritual life and the failures I experience as a Christian to myself. But I’m reminded that God never intended for us to walk our journeys alone, but to share our struggles and ask for the larger body of believers to provide support, insight, and assistance–if we have the humility to ask.
If I were really courageous, I would let my friends into my office and ask them to help me sort the disaster that it is. Perhaps a baby step for now is asking for help in organizing my junk bin. Every little bit of progress is worth celebrating, as I said in my previous post! (Or check out the first post on this topic here.)
How are you doing with your Lenten disciplines so far and what have you learned? Just remember, it’s 29 days until Easter!